Shanahan's draft history: Linebackers

Shanahan's draft history: Linebackers
April 25, 2012, 4:28 pm
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Mike Shanahan has been the primary talent selector in 15 drafts with the Denver Broncos (1995-2008) and for two with the Redskins (2010-11). How well has he performed?Over the next few days, well break down Shanahans drafts position by position. If the past is prelude, maybe we can learn something about where he might go in the draft that starts on Thursday and how much success the players drafted might have going forward.So far, weve look at defensive backs and wide receivers elected by Shanahan. Today, we look at linebackers.Details of each players draft status are at the bottom of the article.Best pickMiddle linebacker Al Wilson more than justified his first-round status by cracking the starting lineup early in his rookie campaign. He made the first of three straight Pro Bowls following his third season, the start of five appearances is six years. He might still be playing had a neck injury suffered in 2006, when he was just 29, not forced his retirement.Good picksThis is a solid group as five of the 13 linebackers drafted by Shanahan played in 90 or more games and two others, Ryan Kerrigan and Perry Riley, look like they are on their way to doing so. All of them made a roster and appeared in at least two NFL games. In addition to Wilson, the other two first-rounders, John Mobley and D. J. Williams started for the Broncos for six and seven years, respectively. Ian Gold played in 115 NFL games, 99 of them for the Broncos, and made the Pro Bowl in 2001. And seventh-round pick Nate Wayne lasted just two years in Denver but he went on to play 90 games for a total of four different teams, including 23 as a starter for the Eagles in 2003-2004. Spencer Larsen he started a game at fullback and at linebacker as a rookie in 2008 and has coverted to a full-tim backup. Kerrigan, the Redskins top pick a year ago, made most all-rookie teams and appears to be on his way to a good career, if not a great one. Riley is establishing himself as a solid player at inside linebacker.Worst pickTerry Pierce was the 51st overall pick in 2003 and he never was able to establish himself in Denver. He played in just three games as a rookie. After playing mostly special teams in 2005 he was waived before the next season. The Broncos got 18 games and four tackles for their second-round pick.Bad picksFourth-round pick Ken Brown, and fifth-rounder Phil Yeboah-Kodie, both picked in 1995, played in two games each. Again, there isnt much to complain about here as every linebacker Shanahan has drafted has made the roster and has played in an NFL game.The nitty-grittyTotal linebackers drafted: 13
NFL games played: 658
Seasons as a starter: 32
Pro Bowls: 6Al Wilson 5 (2001-2003, 2005-2006); Ian Gold 1 (2001) Note: John Mobley was named first-team All-NFL in 1997, but was not selected for the Pro Bowl
Games played, seasons as starter and Pro Bowls are for players career with all teams.RoundsPlayers4John Mobley (15 overall) 1996; Al Wilson (31) 1999; D. J. Williams (17) 2004; Ryan Kerrigan (16) 20112Ian Gold (40) 2000; Terry Pierce (51) 2003None2Ken Brown (124) 1995; Perry Riley (103) 20101Phil Yeboah-Kodie (146) 19951Spence Larsen (183) 20083Steve Russ (218) 1995; Nate Wayne (219) 1998; Markus White (224) 2011Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at You can reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.